The hands-on demo for Forza Motorsport 4 wasn't the most in-depth showcase of Microsoft's next big exclusive racing game, particularly compared to the veritable circus of motorsport they brought to E3, but it was still enough to remind us how much time and improvement they've put into the fourth entry into their flagship racer.
The demo was one race with a choice of three cars: a classic American muscle car (I think it was a 60's Cougar, but don't quote me on that), an all-wheel drive Subaru, and a Ferrari 590. As you can imagine, I (and everybody else playing) picked the Ferrari. The track was a dry, not-too-challenging course set in the mountains, with vistas of snow-capped peaks dominating the panorama.
While not being robust or showing off the ample Kinect features that will adorn Forza Motorsport 4, the game still showed off the main two points Turn 10 Studios were focusing on for improvements from Forza Motorsport 3: graphics and physics. The graphics are equal to comparison with Gran Turismo 5 (the premium cars, so there's no confusion) and the backdrops are far more exotic and sweeping just in this demo than anything in Sony's flagship racer.
As far as physics, I turned the assists to medium, so damage and more physics would act upon the car. I was noticing a pull to the right on my Ferrari partway through the race. Speaking to a developer, he said it could have been from some damage I sustained earlier in the race or it could be from torque steer; a phenomenon that occurs in cars with more torque than steering control, where the pure power of the car turn the wheels a bit during acceleration. That they've thought about torque steer and included it in the game is a testament to their newfound dedication to physics.
The demo was a promising outing for the upcoming game. Coupled with all the Kinect functions, Top Gear content, and constantly growing list of outstanding cars (Porsche not included) all make Forza Motorsport 4 the must-owned racing game for this holiday season.
Look for Forza Motorsport 4 exclusively on the Xbox 360 this October.